Williams Honored for Service to Seniors

August 2, 2015  
Filed under News

Bernadette Williams of Williston has been named the Home Instead Senior Care CAREgiver of the Year for the Shelburne Vermont office.  Williams received the honor in recognition of her commitment and service to area older adults.

Bernadette Williams of Williston has been named the Home Instead Senior Care CAREgiver of the Year for the Shelburne Vermont office. Williams received the honor in recognition of her commitment and service to area older adults.

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Rethinking Your Jewelry

August 2, 2015  
Filed under Blogs

By Sharon Mosley
Go big and go bold. It’s the mantra of jewelry designers everywhere this year. The bigger the bauble, the better. From pearls to pendants, jewelry is once again making a big fashion statement — popping up not only on celebrities strutting their multimillion-dollar sparklers on the red carpets, but in the accessory wardrobes of women who are scoring great finds from local artisans and vintage flea markets.
It’s time to rethink your own collection of jewelry. Here are some quick ways to update your decorative treasures right now:
Make a statement. It’s all about impact when it comes to jewelry trends. Don’t be afraid to be bold with your choices. The oversized statement piece is one of the best investments you can make in creating a wardrobe that has personal style.
Mixing classic with contemporary or mixing materials is one of the best ways to update old jewelry. Combine different metals and gemstones, as well as gold and silver. Mix, don’t ever match. It’s called “coordinating.”
Layer, layer, layer. More is more when it comes to accessorizing with jewelry. Layer necklaces, combining long and short, for more impact and creative style. Stack a dozen thin slivers of bangles in an artful mix of silver and gold, some dangling with your favorite charms, for a delicious dose of arm candy at its best.
Change up your chains. Wear solid link chain bracelets with snake chain or beaded chain bracelets. Combining different textures is a quick way to make your jewelry much more interesting. Chunky chain cuffs are another way to pump up the glam factor.
Buy local and personalize. Necklaces or bracelets that sport various words or slogans continue to be a popular way to express a special occasion. But necklaces and bracelets dangling with pendants and charms can also be a creative way to tell your own personal history. Check out local jewelry artisans in your area to find unique pieces that can be customized just for you.
Go for the “multiple” experience. There are plenty of ways to get creative when it comes to accessorizing with jewelry. In the spirit of “more is more,” consider wearing multiple rings on your hands, whether it’s one ring across several fingers or two or three rings on one finger  ditto for long necklaces, earrings or bracelets.
Try a new trend. Perhaps tassels dripping from a hand bracelet, feathers fanned out over a brooch or a single earring dangling with stones. Whatever you decide to try, the latest jewelry trends are a fun way to indulge your fashion fantasies. This year, the “arts and crafts” look will update your wardrobe of basics. Also on the jewelry trend radar: tribal-inspired designs, mirrored metals and geometric shapes.
Make it versatile. Think about wearing a piece of your favorite jewelry in a new way. Pins and clips can function as fasteners on dresses and blouses as well as an accent on scarves, belts, hats and shawls. Scout out special clasps that allow jewelry to be worn in different ways. A hinged “oyster” clasp is one of your best bets.
Remember: think outside the jewelry box! — CNS

South End Art Hop Celebrates 23rd Year

August 2, 2015  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

The South End Arts and Business Association will present the 23rd annual South End Art Hop Sept. 11-13 in Burlington.
The South End Art Hop brings thousands of residents, visitors and the community together to celebrate the dynamic art and culture of Burlington.
Over 500 artists will be showing their artwork at over 100 sites throughout the South End Arts District of Burlington. Galleries, studios and local businesses will be transformed into the largest art festival in Vermont.
Additional entertainment includes Waylon Speed and the Vermont Comedy Club under the tent, the STRUT Fashion Sho), Kids Hop, pop-up performances, artists’ market, live music, food vendors, brewery tours, demonstrations and more.
The South End Art Hop celebrates the concentrated creative and artistic activity that has been established in numerous re-purposed factories and warehouses within the South End Arts District.
For more information, visit www.seaba.com/art-hop/ or contact Adam Brooks at 859-9222.

Southern Vermont Arts Center Special Exhibition

August 2, 2015  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

The Red Barn by George Van Hook

The Red Barn by George Van Hook

The Southern Vermont Arts Center’s annual Members’ exhibition, SVAC’s longest standing tradition will continue through Sept. 20.  As only one of two shows in which member artists are guaranteed acceptance, this exhibition has consistently been a favorite of artists and buyers alike. Displayed throughout the Yester House Galleries, all artwork is for sale.
Given the vast diversity of content and artistic medium, the Exhibition has something for every palette; artworks will encompass traditional, abstract, and contemporary styles with ceramics, metal works, and printmaking, as well as paintings in oil, acrylic and watercolor.
This year’s exhibition showcases two artist members in particular, Christopher Pierce and George Van Hook. Pierce‘s show highlights his commanding florals, still life and stunning portraiture while Hook’s captivates with his plein-air landscapes and still life that utilize form, light and color to create rich textured artworks.
The Southern Vermont Arts Center is located off West Road [930 SVAC Drive] in Manchester. For more information, call 362-1405, email info@svac.org or visit svac.org.

Hot Flash CAM

August 2, 2015  
Filed under Health & Wellness

More Women Turning to Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Management of Menopause Symptoms
The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing for the treatment of menopausal symptoms but often without the guidance of a clinician. That’s according to a new study reported in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). As a result, the authors suggest that healthcare providers—in particular family medicine practitioners—need to be more aware of the various CAM therapies and take a more active role in guiding patients through their options to more safely and effectively coordinate their care.
Ongoing fear of the potential risks of hormone therapy is cited as a primary reason for the growing use of CAM among menopausal women (including pre-, peri- and postmenopausal) in recent decades. CAM is a general term for healthcare practices and products not associated with the conventional medical profession. Some of the more commonly accessed CAM practitioner groups include massage therapists, naturopaths/herbalists, chiropractors/osteopaths and acupuncturists. The more popular self-prescribed CAM supplements/activities include vitamins/minerals, yoga/meditation, herbal medicines, aromatherapy oils and/or Chinese medicines.
Although there is still ongoing debate within the medical industry regarding the proven effectiveness of CAM alternatives, the point of this study was to confirm that most adults seeking treatment for their symptoms purchase CAM products or services without the guidance of a healthcare practitioner. It is estimated that 53 percent of menopausal women use at least one type of CAM for the management of such menopause-related symptoms as hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety, depression, stiff or painful joints, back pain, headaches, tiredness, vaginal discharge, leaking urine and palpitations.
This raises major safety concerns, according to the authors, since much of the use of self-prescribed CAM products is done without a medical consultation. The greatest safety concern relates to the large percentage of menopausal women who typically use CAM products concurrently with conventional medicine, but who may be unaware of the possible herb-drug interactions.
“There is still much to be learned in the CAM arena and women need to understand that just because something appears natural does not necessarily mean it is without risk, especially for certain populations,” says NAMS Medical Director Wulf Utian. “In the meantime, this study does a good job of alerting clinicians to the growing interest in CAM alternatives and of the critical role of health providers in helping educate patients on the potential risks and benefits of all options.”

Financial Aid for Older Adults Going Back to School

August 2, 2015  
Filed under Savvy Senior

By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,
Are there any financial aid resources you can recommend to baby boomers who are interested in going back to school? I’ve been thinking about taking some classes at a nearby college, and wanted to check into financial aid opportunities first.
Looking For Aid

Dear Looking,
If you know where to look, there’s quite a bit of financial assistance out there that can help working baby boomers and retirees go back to school. Here are some steps to take that can help you find it.
Fill out the FAFSA form: A good place to start is by filling out the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA). This will help you learn about grants, federal student loans (which are a better option than private student loans), even work-study jobs. But, be aware that for most types of federal financial aid you will need to be enrolled at least half time in a degree or academic program to be eligible. To learn more or to fill out an application online, visit fafsa.gov. Or call 800-433-3243 and request a paper FAFSA.
Search for scholarships: While most scholarships are aimed at traditional undergraduates, there are a number of national and local scholarships offered specifically to older, non-traditional students. To find them try fastweb.com and scholarships.com. Both sites will prompt you to enter your birth date to find ones that are age appropriate.
Contact financial aid office: Call the financial aid office at the college or university that you plan to attend to see if they offer any other financial aid options you may be eligible for. Also, find out if they offer any special tuition waivers or discounts for students over age 50. Many community colleges and some four-year colleges offer discounted tuition rates and  many allow older students to audit courses for free.
Seek a tax break: Uncle Sam may also be able to help you with a tax credit, like the annual $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit, or the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, which is worth up to $2,000 per year. Or, if you’re not eligible for the tax credits, the government also provides tuition and fees deductions for students that can cover up to $4,000 in expenses.
To learn more, visit the IRS’s Tax Benefits for Education Information Center at irs.gov – type in “tax benefits for education” in the search bar to find it. Or call 800-829-3676 and request a copy of IRS Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education (irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf).
Open a 529 account: If you don’t plan to go back to school right away, you should consider opening up a 529 college-savings plan for yourself (see savingforcollege.com). Available in every state, 529s allow you to save money for college tax-free. And in many states you can even deduct part or all of your contribution on your state tax return.
Sign up for a free or low cost MOOC: That’s the acronym for the popular “Massively Open Online Courses,” which offers thousands of certificate and no-certificate courses by the best universities around the world. MOOCs offer free or cheap ways to learn from their instructors anytime, anywhere. See mooc-list.com to search for courses.
Consider lifelong learning: If you’re interested in taking classes just for fun, consider Lifelong Learning Institutes (LLIs). These are noncredit educational programs designed for retirees that involve no tests or grades, just learning for the pure joy of it.
Usually affiliated with colleges and universities, LLIs offer a wide array of courses in such areas as literature, history, religion, philosophy, science, art and architecture, finance, computers and more.
To find an LLI, call your closest college or search the websites of the two organizations that support and facilitate them—Osher (osher.net) and Road Scholar (roadscholar.org/ein/intro.asp). Together they support around 500 LLI programs nationwide. Contact the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Vermont at 656-2085.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

New and Old Favorites at This Year’s Champlain Valley Fair

August 2, 2015  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

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It is fresh-squeezed lemonade, buttery corn-on-the-cob and Italian sausage with onions and peppers. It is the 50-ton sand castle, Bacon on a stick, regional history, excited 4-H kids, neon-colored stuffed animals, first kisses on the Ferris wheel and the best people-watching of the summer.
The 2015 Champlain Valley Fair celebrates its opening day Friday, Aug. 28 with half price admission and ride bracelets all day.
Vermont’s largest annual agricultural and entertainment tradition brings together people from across Vermont, New England, Quebec and beyond. It is the place to see old and new friends, enjoy local food and compete for satin blue ribbons and bragging rights for the best chili, handmade quilt or heaviest pumpkin in Vermont.
The “Ten Best Days of Summer” also describes the Fair’s Coca-Cola Grandstand entertainment, both the Bud Light Music series and the other shows coming to the grandstand. Advance tickets to the grandstand concerts include gate admission the day of the show.
Concerts include:
Aug. 28: Jake Owen with special guest The Cadillac Three, 7 p.m.
Sept. 1: Hotel California – a nationally known Eagles tribute band in a free show with Fair gate admission, 7 p.m.
Sept. 4: Meghan Trainor, 7 p.m.
Sept. 5: The Happy Together Tour with The Turtles, The Association, Mark Lindsey, The Grass Roots, The Buckinghams and the Cowsills, 7 p.m.
Sept. 6: Little Big Town with special guest David Nail, 7 p.m.Dave Fair shots and Aerial 2009 960
For thrill-seeking motor sports fans, the Fair is bringing back the Burnett Scrap Metal Championship Figure 8 race on Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. and the Demolition Derby on Sept. 2 at 6:30 p.m. This year, special guest Waylon Speed will be performing before the show and between the preliminary bouts and the finals.
New this year is the Night of Fire and Destruction on Aug. 30 at 6 p.m., featuring monster truck madness in a fun-filled show. Also new this year is the Cycle Circus Live on Aug. 29 at 8 p.m. World class athletes will soar through the air doing acrobatic tricks combined with music and pyrotechnics. Admission to the Fair is not included with motor sports advance tickets.
Also new in the Coca-Cola Grandstand is the Wuderlee Circus Extravaganza on Aug.31. The circus features performers from several other circuses including Circus Smirkus and Cirque de Soleil. It is a free show with a voluntary donation to the Fair’s Read and Win program at the gate.
Senior Day at the Fair is Sept. 1 – those age 55 and older can save $3 off admission with ID. In addition, there will be food vendors offering $3 specials midweek.
The Midway features a new ride company, Strates Shows from Orlando, Florida. They have been a touDSC_0123ring midway company for more than 100 years and offer new rides along with the more traditional and spectacular rides. One ride of note is the double decker carousel — the only one in the United States. Pay-one-price ride bracelets will be offered every day.
Another way to save is advance discount admission and pay-one-price ride tickets available at all Price Chopper grocery stores in Vermont, New Hampshire and upstate New York. Tickets will be available through Aug. 21 and Fair guests can save up to 25 percent by purchasing in advance.
Other admission specials include:
Aug. 31, Kids’ Day admission: Kids age 5-12 get in for $4. Read and Win participants get in free with their ribbon from area libraries.
Sept. 2, Maplefield’s Carload Special Day: Everyone in the car is admitted to the Fair and receives free parking and a ride bracelet for the day. $60 per carload with a coupon from Maplefields (legal load limit – everyone must have a seat belt)
Sept. 3, Food Bank Day: free admission from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for each guest who brings two non-perishable food items for the Vermont Food Bank. And if a guest brings two additional items, they save $10 on a  ride bracelet.
Sept. 4, Military Appreciation Day: free admission for past and present members of our military with a valid Military ID.
Free entertainment this year includes hypnotist Steve Bayner, a giant sand sculpture, strolling Dixieland musicians and more.
On-site camping for RVs and tents is available at the Exposition during the Fair. For info, email camping@cvexpo.org. The Exposition also offers Wi-Fi internet connection service throughout the grounds and buildings.
Concert and motorsports tickets can be purchased through the Flynntix Regional Box Office, (802) 863-5966 or online at www.flynntix.org.
For a complete daily schedule and more information, visit www.champlainvalleyfair.org.

Day trips to enjoy with family and friends

August 2, 2015  
Filed under Travel

Boyden Valley Winery    
Nestled in the Lamoille River Valley, the Boyden Valley Winery offers tours and tastings that celebrate the rich agricultural heritage of Vermont’s Green Mountains. Visitors can explore the tank and barrel rooms with tours starting at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily. Tastings are offered daily that include a taste of six different types of wine, one cream liqueur, a local chocolate truffle and a souvenir tasting glass for $10. Visitors can also order “French Gourmet” cheese plates to pair with their wine or take one of their guided canoe trips along the Lamoille River —“Water and Wine” or “River and Spirits.”

64 Vermont104, Cambridge
(802) 644-8151
www.boydenvalley.com

Calvin Coolidge Homestead
The President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site is located in the small town of Plymouth Notch, where the 30th President of the United States was born and raised. The historic site includes the preservation of the homestead as well as over 600 acres of the 19th century village that shaped the life of a President. The Historic site is open through October and features events and educational programs for all ages as well as tours of the village including barns, school house, church, working cheese factory and more.

3780 Vermont 100A, Plymouth
(802) 672-3773
www.coolidgefoundation.org

Vermont Backroad Brewery Tour
Vermont Backroad Tours offers two pre-made tours, the “Northern” and the “Eastern” for people looking to visit some of Vermont’s finest craft breweries. The Northern Tour takes guests to breweries such as Switchback and Fiddlehead and ends with dinner at The Bobcat Café while the Eastern Tour visits the likes of Long Trail and Harpoon with dinner at Seven Barrel Brewery. Tours include transportation and start at $50 per person with a minimum of 10 people per group. Custom tours are also available.

(802) 446-3131
www.vtbackroadtours.com

Crown Point Historic Site
Located just 30 minutes from Middlebury and one hour from Burlington, the scenic Crown Point Historic Site offers a variety of activities for visitors looking to explore the ruins of this 18th-century fort.  Visitors can tour the newly renovated museum featuring a multimedia orientation and exhibits as well as self-guided tours of the grounds. Admission to the museum is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and free for children under 12. The historic site is also home to the Crown Point Bird Conservation Area where over 180 species of birds have been observed.

21 Grandview Dr, Crown Point, NY
(518) 597-4666
www.nysparks.com/historic-sites/34/details

Covered Bridges Tours
Take a drive and visit Vermont’s famed covered bridges. With over 100 bridges to choose from, you can plan a route that will last an afternoon or a full day depending on how far you’d like to travel. For a self-guided tour, directions to a collection of covered bridges can be found at www.visit-vermont.com/state/covered-bridges. Pre-made tours are also available through Tucker Hill Inn in Waitsfield, ranging from seven bridges in a two hour trip to 10 bridges in a four-hour trip (including stops at popular area attractions such as Cabot Creamery).

www.tuckerhill.com.

Saratoga Racetrack
Hit the racetrack in Saratoga — the season runs through Sept. 7 featuring thoroughbred racing, harness racing and steeplechase races. After visiting the tracks, head to downtown Saratoga Springs for shopping, dining and attractions.

267 Union Ave, Saratoga Springs, NY
(518) 584-6200
www.saratogaracetrack.com

Lake Memphremagog Scenic Lake Cruises
Head to the Northeast Kingdom for a one-of-a-kind international adventure. Scenic cruises of Lake Memphremagog are available Monday through Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tickets are $21 for adults and include a light lunch buffet as well as a personalized and informative talk from the Captain. Learn about the geological makeup of the lake, the various creatures that inhabit the area and the rich history of the U.S./Canadian border line. Reservations are strongly encouraged and tickets can be purchased in advance online. No passport needed.

Newport City Dock
84 Fyfe Dr, Newport, VT
(802) 334-5726.

Driving through a post card

August 2, 2015  
Filed under Feature Stories

By Adam White
Scenic routes showcase the best of Vermont’s farms, mountains and countryside. There is no such thing as an ordinary drive through Vermont.
Virtually any road taken is bound to offer something attractive to look at, whether it’s a scenic landscape, an historic or architectural highlight or even a flashing glimpse of wildlife.
But a state with such perpetual eye candy has its highlights, places where time seems to stop as the magic and majesty of the view takes over.
Here are a few such places that are well worth the drive.
Hogback Mountain
When it comes to sweeping vistas right from your car window, it’s hard to beat the one from atop Hogback Mountain, between Brattleboro and Wilmington on Vermont 9 west.
The “Thousand Mile View” from the roadside lookout atop the 2,410-foot mountain has been a popular tourist stop for decades, even as nearby amenities – including a summit restaurant and lift-served alpine ski area – have ceased to operate.
On a clear day, eagle-eyed onlookers can identify dozen of peaks, as well as reservoirs, lakes and other landmarks in the distance. The gift shop adjacent to the viewing area has available maps that can help give you the lay of the vast, surrounding land.
Route 100 Scenic Byway
A right turn onto Vermont 100 north sets trave lers onto a 138-mile scenic byway that meanders along the eastern edge of the Green Mountains through 20 towns, and affords some of the most unforgettable scenery in the state along the way.
Though it is by no means the most efficient route of travel northward through Vermont – long stretches of twisty, rising and falling single lanes in either direction make passing virtually  impossible – the scenic byway affords those not in a hurry a wealth of mountains, lakes, farm country and other scenic and historical attractions.
During the winter, magnificent vistas of snow-capped mountains abound, especially in the vicinities of the major ski areas along the route: Mount Snow, Stratton, Okemo, Killington and Pico and Sugarbush.
Yankee Magazine named the route one of “the most scenic drives in New England,” and even regular travelers along the byway are known to stop along the road and take photos, particularly when the mountains are capped in snow or the trees are ablaze with autumn hues.
Mount Tabor
When it comes to leaf-peeping, there is no shortage of fantastic backroads from which to view the state’s legendary foliage. But even those travelers looking to make good time can enjoy gorgeous scenery as the miles tick by on U.S. 7 north of Manchester.
Leaving the impressive shadow of Mount Equinox (3,816 feet), the route follows a picturesque valley between Mount Aeolus and Netop Mountain to the west and Mount Tabor and Peru Peak to the east.
Emerald Lake State Park is followed by recreational areas at Big Branch and White Rocks, along an area in which vast, uninterrupted stretches of forested hillsides turn into virtual canvases of red, orange and gold in the fall.
One benefit of having such magnificent scenery right alongside one of the state’s major thoroughfares is that there is typically plenty of space along the shoulders of the road for stopped vehicles, whereas on many backroads this creates a significant safety hazard.
The Ap Gap
Further up Vermont’s “Route 7 Corridor” lies one of the hands-down prettiest drives in the state, one that perfectly encapsulates two of the major attractions people associate with the state: farms and mountains.
It starts at Chimney Point, just across Lake Champlain from Port Henry, N.Y. With the Adirondacks in your rearview mirror, head east along Vermont 17. The road dips through Addison and Bristol, and it feels like driving through a postcard: beautiful barns and silos rise up out of the farms along the way, with breathtaking valley views extending beyond them all the way to their mountain backdrops.
As impressive as that stretch is, the best is still ahead. VT 17 winds through South Starksboro and Jerusalem then climbs up through the Appalachian Gap, a drive that can feel very much like an amusement park ride, especially during the winter.
The ascent between Molly Stark Mountain (2,967 feet) and Stark Mountain (3,662 feet) is a classic example of a Vermont mountain road – a steep grade with numerous switchbacks and S-turns. At the top is a scenic lookout with vantage points on either side of the road, affording a marvelous view down over the gap’s namesake pond and across the dramatic skyline.
The descent down the other side, past Mad River Glen Ski Area, is no less harrowing and a certain test for your vehicle’s braking power as it follows alongside the Mill Brook into Waitsfield.
Pleasant Valley Road
No exploration of scenic Vermont drives is complete without at least one “shortcut,” a lesser-known back road that locals and others in the know use to circumvent a more popular route. The best of these shortcuts often provide a far more enjoyable journey, and Pleasant Valley Road between Underhill Center and Cambridge is the perfect example.
Right from the get-go this route provides some of the very best views possible of Mount Mansfield, the largest and most visually iconic mountain in the state. Whereas those who have visited Stowe and navigated its seasonal Notch Road (VT 108) are familiar with the view of the ski area carved into Mansfield’s eastern flank, the other sides of the mountain are far more rugged and naturalistic.
This makes the views along Pleasant Valley Road all the more impressive; thickly-forested mountainside sweeps upward toward a steep and dramatic peak that is equally stunning when bathed in early-evening alpenglow or frosted in snow, which it holds well into spring when everywhere else has thawed back to green.
Even after the mountain views have subsided, Pleasant Valley Road still offers photo-worthy vistas of classic farms, valleys and hillsides along its lower portion into Cambridge.
Visitors to Vermont are invariably struck by how beautiful the state is. But even those who live in the Green Mountain State and drive on its roads every day can’t help but remain in awe of what surrounds them at virtually every turn.
It’s a landscape that is impossible to take for granted.